Matt Lauer has come out of hiding in the Hamptons. The fallen former Today show anchor, who was fired by NBC in late 2017 amid rampant sexual misconduct allegations, left his safe space to celebrate longtime pal Jeff Zucker’s birthday.
Lauer was spotted in the Big Apple at Zucker’s 54th birthday bash at the McKittrick Hotel over the weekend, Page Six reports. The party for the CNN chief took place at the New York City hotel’s “Speakeasy Magick Show” which was hosted by “master deceptionist” Todd Robbins.
According to the celebrity gossip site, Lauer joined the party group at the venue, and had a “great time” and “a lot of laughs.”
In addition to the surprising cameo by Matt Lauer, other party guests included Allison Gollust, CNN’s executive VP and chief marketing officer, and Jeff Zucker’s kids.
Lauer, who is going through a lengthy divorce drama with second wife, Annette Roque, has been rarely seen outside of his Hamptons hometown in the nearly two years since his sex scandal broke. In fact, a source previously told Page Six the former NBC newsman planned to lay low in the Hamptons and had no plans to stage a career comeback. The insider said Lauer instead planned to “disappear and play golf” and has no intention of ever returning to public life.
— Page Six (@PageSix) April 9, 2019
While he has cut ties with many of his past colleagues, Matt Lauer has remained friends with Jeff Zucker, who now oversees CNN but was once Lauer’s boss at NBC’s Today show. Zucker was executive producer of Today from 1992 to 2000 before being promoted to president of NBC Entertainment, and later, president and CEO of NBCUniversal. During his time at Today, Zucker turned the show into a morning news powerhouse with Matt Lauer and co-anchor Katie Couric.
While Zucker has a long history with Lauer, he was reportedly shocked when he found out about the sexual assault and harassment allegations against the longtime Today co-anchor. In 2017, Zucker told reporters this was not the Matt Lauer that he knew.
“I’ve known Matt for 25 years and I didn’t know this Matt,” Zucker said, per Variety. “It’s incredibly, incredibly heartbreaking.”
Zucker added that during his time at NBC and Today, which Lauer co-anchored for 20 years, “there was never a complaint about Matt.”
“There was never a suggestion of that kind of deviant or predatory behavior. There was never even a whisper of it,” Zucker said of Lauer.
Jeff Zucker also denied reports that Today cultivated a “boys club” atmosphere, which allegedly left female employees feeling that they were not as valued as their male colleagues.